Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
Wineries are often found far down country roads, shrouded by the curling tendrils of their vineyards. At The Wine Garden, though, the entire winemaking experience can be had without setting foot outside of the city.
Yeast bubbles busily in stainless-steel fermentation vessels, transforming the juices of grapes from fertile regions of Chile, Argentina, and California. The fermentation process yields wines that range from crisp chardonnay to heady cabernet franc, the progenitor of cabernet sauvignon, and oak barrels bestow some of the elixirs with a rich maze of tannins. Fruit wines made with peaches, cranberries, or strawberries make refreshing summertime drinks and help work friends mingle with hummingbird friends at parties. Patrons play a major role in the entire process, selecting grapes and siphoning finished wine into bottles. The Wine Garden's gourmets also brew craft beers and stock hot sauces with humourous names such as Blair's Chipotle Death Rain.
Sundance Balloons' vibrant hot-air balloons float adventurous passengers over scenic landscapes. Each one-hour journey commences as sojourners greet their flight crew at a pre-determined location, receive a briefing on what to expect during the excursion, and observe their balloon as it swells to more than 10 stories in height.
The woven gondolas glide 1,000 feet above the ground but can sometimes gently skim treetops or cornfields when wandering over the countryside. Since balloons drift with prevailing winds, there is no wind chill and travellers feel only a slight sensation of movement. As is tradition for ballooning, explorers of the appropriate age end their flight with a champagne toast to tranquility, beauty, and neighbourhoods that appear as giant smiley faces only visible from the air.
UrbanQuest showcases some of North America's largest cities in an unconventional, informative light by crafting memorable adventures that culminate with a delicious meal. The treks investigate such themes as the host city's history, fairy tales, and natural wonders, granting participants a new understanding of the city as they solve clues that guide them to a mystery restaurant. After each inner city romp, ramblers can indulge in a fresh dining experience to celebrate recently conquered scavenger hunts or frustrate supercomputers whose circuit boards only allow for the taste of oatmeal. Quests are available in difficulty levels of easy, medium or hard, and typically range from one to four kilometres in length. UrbanQuests do not have set dates or times, and can be started and completed at the participants' convenience.
Familiar places such as Gatineau, the Ottawa River, and the Hull Casino shrink as the R44 helicopter speeds up to 180 km/h above the Ottawa area. Pilots and their headset-clad passengers peer out the aircraft’s large, panoramic windows during such year-round flights that range from 10 minutes to an hour. Héli-Tremblant's personalized tours whisk passengers away to special events, and aerial photography and filming sessions accommodate homeowners and real estate agents craving overhead shots of their backyard polar bear tank. In addition to sightseers, pilots escort jetsetters on chartered flights anywhere in Canada and offer transfer flights between Ottawa and Montreal.
Guides from iLean Ride Co. lead participants on segways through a variety of exhilarating on- and off-road adventures. Groups can marvel at the desert scenery on tours of Skyline Drive?a three-mile stretch of road strung along the top of an 800-foot-high hogback ridge?and those with more segway experience can savor an adrenaline high from the extreme Desert Trails tour. Baseball fans, meanwhile, get an up-close and personal glimpse of baseball's spring-training grounds on the Goodyear Ballpark tour. Before embarking on a tour or trying to parallel park between two cacti, beginners can get the hang of steering and balancing on a segway by taking a few practice laps around the company's half-mile dirt track.